5 Tips for Starting a Successful Company While 2020 may have been a terrible year for health and wellbeing, it was a great year for startups. Here's how to get in on the movement.

By Folabi Clement Solanke

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The year 2020 was a washout — and we'd all like to forget it. But despite the chaos and uncertainty, despite the misery, fear and tension, businesses flourished; 2020 may have been a bad year for health and wellbeing, but it was a great year for startups.

The United States saw a 24% increase in new business launches, and that trend has continued well into 2021. Consumer habits are driving those trends as more customers shop online and use retail therapy as a way of escaping lockdown fatigue.

As a result, there has never been a better time to launch a new business. Here are five tips that will help you join this growing trend and start a business of your own.

1. Use your experience or skills

Starting a successful business isn't about finding a popular trend and then dumping your savings into stock and development.

You need to know what you're doing. You must have experience in that field. If not, you'll constantly be outgunned by your competitors.

Look for ways to use your experience, connections or skills.

Related: The Most Important First Step When Starting a Business

Do you write or design for a living? Build a business around those skills. Do you have experience in programming or developing? Create an app, widget or website.

There are two benefits to this.

Firstly, you can do most of the work yourself, so you don't need to hire contractors and agencies to do it for you.

Secondly, there's less chance you'll make an expensive mistake. You know what you're doing and how the industry works, so your route to success is more direct.

You don't need creative skills to make this work. Even if you have spent your life as a car salesman, it still makes more sense to do something based on sales or the automotive industry than it does to sell coffee or start a writing agency.

2. Establish a personal brand

A personal brand isn't essential for the success of your business, but it'll make things a lot easier.

Sign up for multiple social-media accounts, post videos, write content and put yourself out there. You're not trying to become the next Kim Kardashian or PewDiePie. It's all about making connections with influential people and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

The more you grow your personal brand, the more trusted you will become. It will connect you with investors, potential buyers, collaborators and brand ambassadors. It will also give you a platform through which you can organically market your business.

If you're not comfortable in front of the camera, just write blogs and get yourself a LinkedIn account. No one expects you to post mirror selfies and frequent vlogs. It's just about giving yourself a presence.

3. Set clear and achievable goals

Where do you want to be in six months or a year? What about five years and ten years?

What about next week?

Successful business owners are very organized and goal-oriented individuals. They give themselves targets to meet every day, week, month and year. They know exactly what they want to achieve in the future and what they have achieved in the past.

Setting yourself goals will keep you on the right track. It should make you more productive and allow you to focus on the things that really matter.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

An aspiring entrepreneur is someone who wants to do everything. You'll often hear him or her talk about outlandish ideas and schemes, and he or she will typically jump from one to the other, rarely committing to any of them and giving up on the ones that he or she does take on.

A successful entrepreneur is someone who has clear and defined goals. He or she knows where he or she is going and how to get there.

You need that clarity if you want to succeed in business.

4. Build a team you can rely on

It's not "me against the world" when it comes to business. It doesn't matter what you've seen on Instagram or what a business book claimed — entrepreneurs don't make it entirely on their own.

You need a strong team to run a successful company, and once you have that team, you should take them with you everywhere you go.

Reliability is the most important trait, as well as the rarest. Look for people who will always be there when you need them, people who will work hard for your success and never let you down.

5. Don't be afraid to take calculated risks

Successful entrepreneurs don't gamble. They take calculated risks. They put their savings into projects they believe in, and they believe in them because they've done their research and know they will give it their all.

It's risky to throw money at a business idea that's completely new to you and one that you won't work at. In fact, it borders on being reckless.

It's much less risky to throw money at a project you're familiar with and will benefit from your experience and tireless work ethic.

Take risks, but don't be reckless; don't be stupid, and always work to turn that risk from a gamble into an investment.

Related: 8 Steps to Start a Small Business From Scratch

Folabi Solanke is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, actor and motivational speaker. This 29-year-old is the true embodiment of a 21st-century multi-hyphenate. He's blessed with a brilliant mind for networking and a fierce desire to give back to his community.

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